A World Health Organization (WHO) expert has revealed on Wednesday that the first use of COVID-19 vaccine cannot be expected until early 2021.
This information is coming against the backdrop of reported good progress by researchers in developing vaccines against COVID-19, with a handful in late-stage trials.
The head of WHO’s emergencies programme, Mike Ryan said the UN health agency is working to ensure fair vaccine distribution, but in the meantime, it is key to suppress the virus’ spread. This is as daily new cases around the globe are at near-record levels.
Ryan said, “We’re making good progress, noting that several vaccines were now in phase 3 trials and none had failed, so far, in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response. Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated.”
He said that WHO has been working to expand access to potential vaccines and to help scale up production capacity.
Going further, Ryan said, “And we need to be fair about this because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody.”
Pfizer and German biotech (BioNTech) have both revealed that the United States Government is expected to pay $1.95 billion to buy 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the 2 drug firms if it turns out safe and effective.
The WHO chief also cautioned schools to be careful about re-opening until community transmission of COVID-19 is under control.
Ryan said, “We have to do everything possible to bring our children back to school, and the most effective thing we can do is to stop the disease in our community. Because if you control the disease in the community, you can open the schools.”
Nairametrics had reported that a vaccine trial for the COVID-19 disease by a joint team of University of Oxford researchers and pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca Plc showed a strong immune response in early testings with humans.
Also, the Modena vaccine candidate in its trial produced a robust immune response in all the 45 patients in its first phase of the human trial.